Doom Metal Reviews

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

THE HIDDEN HAND - Mother, Teacher, Destroyer

Mother, Teacher, Destroyer
Southern Lord Recordings

The threesome of Wino, Dave Hennessy (drums) and Bruce Falkinburg (bass, vocals) have joined forces in order to create some of the most out there sonic manipulations this side of Jupiter on “Mother, Teacher, Destroyer”. It seems as if Wino just never stops creating, his latest project being a fusion of doom metal and spacey stoner rock that is mystical and mysterious.

The Hidden Hand begins the sonic deconstruction with “The Crossing”, a track that combines Bruce’s shamanistic vocalizations with board-burning leads and crashing rhythms that make for a potent blend. Wino assumes the microphone on “Half Mast”, conjuring up some smooth, otherworldly vibes which flow very well over the band’s laid back grooves. Desensitized finds Wino lashing out at the powers that be with a buzzed out vocal delivery that is enjoyable and unexpected. A blistering solo courtesy of Wino rages over the top of the vibes, sending electrically charged jolts through the listener’s ears.

‘Black Ribbon’ is a like a trip to the outermost regions of space, aurally. The band aims for feeling over exaggerated technique, emotion over slick production and overall, to create a tuneful trip for fans to catch a vibe from.

The Hidden Hand is successful in their quest as Mother, Teacher, Destroyer is a vibrant musical statement that hits like a comet as opposed to an asteroid, taking you to a place far away in a flash of light!

Written By: Shovelhead

Saturday, October 18, 2008

DOLORIAN - Voidwards

Wounded Love Records

Swirling moments of Floydian doom and an articulate grasp for creating wide-open atmospheres make "Voidwards" both enjoyable and unique.

"In The Locus Of Bone" sends chills down your spine with excess reverberations and haunting, whispered vocals that make for an intriguing atmosphere. Meanwhile, the rattling chains of "Co-il-lusion" creates a purely haunting feeling that segues well into a shimmering pool of ringing guitar tones and slinking, subdued bass lines.

Dolorian scores well for diversity and texture as "Voidwards" ebbs and flows between sonic dimensions. "The One Whose Name Has No End" is beautifully morose, while the compelling arrangement of "Epoch Of Cyclosure" takes on a heavier bent with growling guttural emanations and lumbering, thickly buzzing rhythm.

This record will be most appealing to doom fans, but the psychedelic elements employed during "Voidwards" are likely to draw in non-traditional listeners. An excellent album all around, you owe it to yourself to seek this one out.

Written By: Ghoul of Grimnosity

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

CANDLEMASS - Candlemass

Nuclear Blast Records

These forefathers of modern doom return with Messiah Marcolin back in the fold. This release will garner a huge reception from long time fans as Candlemass revisit their classic doom sound with an album that rivals their legendary “Nightfall” record.

From the up-tempo, sinister chugging of “Black Dwarf” to the somber and huge sounding drone of “Seven Silver Keys”, Candlemass recapture the vibe that fans enjoyed so much before. Messiah voice is in fine form, his distinctively dark operatic style making for the perfect fit to the ominous tone of this group’s music, particularly on “Assassin Of The Light”.

The brilliant, epic track “Copernicus” stands among the greatest that the group has penned to date. In its towering riffing and subtle dynamics, you will find the epitome of all that is doom.

Many modern acts that have been influenced by Candlemass see the art form as a contest to discover who can play the slowest, but oftentimes, these bands are missing the point. In order to compose doom metal successfully, one must pay heed to the fact that the sound is not merely based upon tempo, but also upon arrangement and the overall vibe which the song produces. With this track, the group revives a feeling that has not been heard since their first album, the hallowed “Epicus Doomicus Metallicus”.

If one needs further proof that this is one of the most crushing platters of woe filled doom on record, look no further than the monumental, vastly heavy “Witches”, a track which finds the band expanding upon Sabbathisms in order to create a frighteningly crushing tone.

With this fine return to form, Candlemass have managed to place themselves once again atop the mountain of doom, looking down upon each of us with a foreboding presence. Do not hesitate in seeking out this fine slab of somberness for one second.

Written by: Shovelhead


Aftermath Music
Doom Metal

The dark occult chants which emanate from the five tracks on Runemagick's "Envenom" pummel the listener with blunt force. This group plays with a doomy style instrumentally, with thick, lumbering grooves overlaid by growls of demonic possession and wicked black chants. The monstrously tones of "Vultures" resonate with the enormous, deeply sustained bass notes from Emma Karlsson that give this trio a distinctly evil sound.

Runemagick authors fairly long compositions as so many doomy acts do, but they take pains to place enough variety in their riffing to hold the listener's attention well. The title track kicks off with a fast riff that is uncharacteristic for doom, but fits the dark atmosphere very well. The vocals are sparse much of the time with a specific emphasis on riffing. Nicklas Rudolfsson handles the guitar and vocal duties for the group, placing melodic, single-note melodies over Karlsson's bass work when applicable, and at other times opting for a hammering chugging attack.

Daniel Moilanen plays simple beats with a lot of start atop action and this technique suits the music of Runemagick very well. He places appropriate fills without overplaying and this is a key ingredient in the group's overall sound. As the stream of consciousness guitar melodies of the title track melt into stop action downpicking and triplet gallops, Moilanen provides the proper amount of accents needed in order to accentuate the heavy features inherrent in the band's sound.

The flanged axe work Rudolfsson undertakes in "Nebulous" adds a cosmic aura to this group's compositional structure. The frontman's bleak vocal grumblings are sparse yet effective as the rumbling lyrics echo over the song's buzzing riffs. You'll find detuned, heavily distorted plodding throughout "Maelstrom", a track which seethes with the bitter force of dark magick.

This crawling repast of blackened doom ultimately succeeds in its ominous pummeling as Runemagick reveal themselves to be yet another dusk triumvirate in the ever growing legions of the genre.

Written by: The Gatekeeper

Saturday, October 11, 2008

CALLISTO - True Nature Unfolds

True Nature Unfolds
Earache Records - 2005

The record fades in with a surrealistic introduction that sets the stage for some dismal vibes from Callisto that straddle the lines between doom metal and Tool style, dark musical vibes.

The tracks are quite long, giving the band an opportunity to experiment with a lot of dynamic interplay ranging from open sounding breaks that are vast in the breadth of their sonic scope, to slamming dirges that impact the listener with a weighty presence. The impression of “Limb Diasporas” is solemn and grandiose.

The music imparts a melodious tone, even when it launches into a heavy lurch, as the group creates textures of light and shade that make for an emotionally moving listen overall. “Cold Stare” is perhaps the most well rounded tune you’ll discover here, as the band reaches out into a sea of musical depression, resulting in a haunting, epic song that is both intense and harmonious. Rarely do Callisto go for a full on assault, instead, opting to cause aural damage with the arrangements of the material.

“Caverns Of Khafka” lurches into an enormous web of emotions that take the listener up and down a path of huge melodies and thunderous accents designed for a maximum degree of artistic feeling. This release is for those who crave atmosphere overall as Callisto provide plenty of it, and then some. It’s a record that requires the listener to remain focused on the music, as there aren’t really any hooks or simplistic formulations here.

That said, “True Nature Unfolds” is an engaging album which is brimming with forceful, dark harmonies that will certainly be of interest to adventurous listeners who crave music with a large amount of emotional substance and creative, thoughtful song crafting.

Written by: The Gatekeeper